Archive for the ‘Philippine Muslims Form Network to Confront Climate Change’ Category

Philippine Muslims Form Network to Confront Climate Change

October 25, 2010

October 3, 2010

A group of Muslim Filipino scientists, religious leaders, academics, and activists recently formed a network intended to confront the issue of climate change to Muslim communities during a round table gathering convened by the Philippine Center for Islam and Democracy (PCID) and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)at the Imperial Palace Suites in Quezon City.

The roundtable discussion on Muslim Action for Climate Change(MACC) was supported by the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) and the Magbassa Kita Foundation, Inc.

The Muslim leaders agreed to support the initiatives of the global Muslim Seven Year Plan.

Action Plan on Climate Change 2010-2017 (M7YAP) approved during the historic conference on climate change held in Istanbul from July 5-7, 2009, wherein 200 Muslim leaders committed to spur action to protect the natural environment and combat climate change.

The Muslim leaders gathered at the roundtable on MACC agreed to establish their Philippine network to respond to the challenges of climate change and to support the initiatives of the M7YAP as well as work with the global MACCA.

Climate Change and the Muslim World Climate change is increasingly seen as the most critical challenge facing the world today. The Islamic world is particularly vulnerable to climate change because of the effects of rising sea levels, with their effects on Muslims living in coastal communities.

Patterns of drought and rainfall are also expected to change, with enormous consequences for human populations. For the Philippines, studies have shown that many of the areas that are highly vulnerable to projected temperature increases; impacts of El Nino events, salt-water intrusion and sea level rise are in Muslim Mindanao.

With the more than 5million Muslims that are in harm’sway, the participants to the lastweek’s Muslim Action for Climate Change RTD expressed the need to engage and mobilize scientists, scholars and environmental organizations to conduct research and information and education activities on climate change and environmental sustainability.

For instance, studies by Greenpeace and data from the National Statistics Coordination Board (NCSB) show that the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) is ranked first among all regions in terms of vulnerability to a one-meter rise in sea level.

Sulu inparticular is the most vulnerable province in the country in terms of vulnerability to a one-meter rise in sea level.

A Response from Muslim Filipinos, PCID President Amina Rasul explained that the formation of MACCA-Philippines is actually the response of Muslims in the Philippines to the Muslim Seven Year Action Plan for Climate Change (M7YAP) that wascrafted in Istanbul, Turkey in June 2009 for all Muslim countries.

“Our people are most vulnerable, since oursituation is compounded by the armed conflict and poverty pervasive in our communities,” Ms. Rasul said, “we need to act, we need to respond, as individuals and ascommunities.”

The plan, drawn up by Earth Mates Dialogue Centre, an NGO based in London, and supported by Alliance of Religions and Conservation or ARC, as part of the UN/ARC Seven Year Plan Initiative, proposed investigating every level of Muslim activity from daily life to annual pilgrimages, from holy cities to the futuretraining of Imams.

Its network also issued a declaration expressing their willingness to put forward a united Muslim front to take action against thecatastrophic consequences ofclimate change.

The Istanbul conference proposed the establishment of the “Muslim Associations for Climate Change Action” or “MACCA” as an umbrella organization to manage the attainment of proposals under the M7YAP.
Part of this action plan was the convening of the First International Conference onMuslim Action on Climate Change in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia last April 9-10, 2010 where 200 environment experts, academics and clerics from 30 countries with Muslim population.

From the Philippines, Ms. Rasul and Dr. Filemon G. Romero, Professor of Oceanography of Environmental Science of the Mindanao State University in Tawi-Tawi were invited as resource persons.

The lead organization in South East Asia is the KEHATI Foundation for Biodiversity of Indonesia, which hosted the first international conference for MACCA in Bogor.

The Bogor conference stressed that Muslims should become agents of change to protect the environment with the help of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Participants called on the OIC to promote climate change policies and setup a special council to take the lead on climate change issues, a conference said.

The initiative received support from various government officials who attended the forum.

DENR SecretaryR amon Paje, represented by Undersecretary Demetrio Ignacio, Jr. lauded the efforts of Muslims to unite and join the global effort to combat the negative impact of climate change.

“The DENR will fullysupport this initiative by ourMuslim brethren,” Sec. Paje said.

Senate Committee on Climate Change Chair Sen. Loren Legarda stressed the need to provide a global response to the global menace that is climate change and congratulated the convenors of MACCA-Philippines for their effort.

Sen. Legarda, who is known for her advocacy of the environment and the rights of Muslims in the Philippines,i nvited the group to brief her committee on the MACCA initiative.

Climate Change Commission Vice-Chair Sec. Heherson Alvarez, meanwhile, said that the commission is fully committed to strengthening grassroots initiatives such as MACCA-Philippines as a way of helping government harness the nation’s resources in its fight to mitigate the impact of climate change.

Former Representative Nereus Acosta, principal author of theClean Air Act, the Clean WaterAct, the Solid Waste Management Act, and the Biodiversity Protection Act, expressed the hope that MACCA-Philippines can help in changing the mindset of politicians, officials and the people in general in addressing the problem of climate change.

He noted that while laws andaction plans have been crafted with respect to climate change, it is important to educate and inform the people not just of the terrible consequences of climate change but how one can contribute to arrest its harmful effects.

The declaration on Muslim Action for Climate Change, which wassigned by allthe participants, cited the fact that the Islamic faith considers “all men andwomen as Allah’s vicegerents on earth.”

The signatories to the declaration expressed their willingness to contribute “their expertise and necessary resources” to fully support the ideals and initiatives of the Muslim Association for Climate Change Action (MACCA) and the Muslim Seven Year Action Plan on Climate Change 2010-2017.

The participants also agreed to establish the Muslim Association for Climate Change Action in the Philippines (MACCA-Philippines). They agreed to work together to research and develop programs to address the problem of climate change, in cooperation with the Department of the Environment and Natural Resources, the Presidential Commission onClimate Change and other national as well as international institutions. Press Release

This piece is taken from the website of Zamboanga Today Online.

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